29.01.21 - The Scan
Today was our 12 week scan and let’s just say it didn’t go to plan.
We saw our baby’s heartbeat going strong, just like with our first, the golden moment all parents wait for. Something in the air quickly changed. The room went silent. You can tell something’s wrong when they stop talking.
The sonographer soon told us he wasn’t happy with how our baby’s head looked. He was pretty certain what he thought he could (or in our case couldn’t) see but needed someone to take a second look.
We were put in a private room whilst he showed the scan to a colleague. We waited for what felt like a lifetime, speculating what it could be. Call it mothers intuition but I knew it wasn’t gonna be good news. I already started preparing for the worst.
He returned and we were joined by a midwife. They told us they believed the baby to have anencephaly, a condition where their head doesn’t form properly. This would need to be confirmed by a consultant, but they seemed sure. They were kind, but honest and informed us that sadly this condition is fatal.
Most babies that are diagnosed with this condition pass away before, during or very soon after birth. We were advised most parents choose not to continue with the pregnancy at this point, however the decision was up to us.
We went home and waited to hear about our consultant appointment the following week. We sobbed as we squeezed our baby girl, how lucky we felt to have her. How naive we were to think adding to our family would be so easy. How nothing anyone could say or do would mend this ache. Time to discuss our options - what the hell do we do now?
02.02.21 - Consultant Scan
By the time our afternoon appointment rolled round, we’d waited over 4 days for answers. We’d had long heartbreaking conversations about what to do - continue to carry a baby we knew we’d never take home, or say good bye to our baby, who was so loved and wanted.
We saw a consultant who did a more in-depth ultrasound. Again, complete silence in the room. I knew this was it. Off we go again to the private room.
She explained our baby has a severe case of anencephaly, as well as our options going forward. We already knew a lot, as we had been well informed at our previous scan, as well as reading the information leaflet, covering to cover.
We explained we had already made the difficult decision to say goodbye to our baby. The next bit is a little blurry but it essentially involves booking several appointments, including a phone consultation, pre-op and surgery for the following week.
10.02.21 - Pre-op
This may have been the longest 8 days of my life. I had a phone consultation yesterday and spoke to some unsympathetic arsehole who clearly hadn’t read my notes and was simply doing a ‘tick box’ exercise. She treated me as if this were some sort of ‘choice’, so I wasn’t feeling too hopeful about today.
I saw a nurse who was wonderful, she answered my questions and was very kind and empathetic. She did the usual - height, weight, talked me through the procedure, of course, glorious COVID swab and sent me on my way.
12.02.21 - Op day
I arrived at Midday, feeling sick to my stomach. Little did I know how long winded this day would be. I was given the medication I needed in my various orifices. Although this was done with consent, no one had warned me how violating this would feel.
I was on a ward with 4 other women who were clearly there for the same procedure. The curtains disguised faces, not words.
The hours ticked by. It felt like I was the only person that didn’t want to be there (although I’m not sure how true that really is). Women had left and I hadn’t been seen by anyone for hours.
I waited until almost 4pm for my surgery. I was exhausted. I just wanted to go home. Change my mind. I couldn’t, it was too late.
Next thing I know, I’m waking up around 5pm. Much like giving birth, the bring you tea and a sandwich afterwards. But there was no baby for me to take home this time.
That was it, my belly was empty. The baby was gone.
As of now (5 weeks on) I’ve had no follow up appointments or aftercare.
Although, I’ve been to the GP surgery, Walk-in Centre and A&E (twice), due to abnormal pain, bleeding and dizzy spells.
Thankfully all these issues have resolved themselves and health wise, I'm doing okay.